Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just How Bad Is Condoleezza Rice?

Great at Debussy, but how about diplomacy?
Has there been a worse secretary of state in the last five decades than Condoleezza Rice?

Using William Rogers' appointment as secretary of state by Richard Nixon in 1969 as a baseline, there have been a total of 12 secretaries of state. They include Henry Kissinger (1973-77), Cyrus Vance (1977-80), Edmund Muskie (1980-81), Alexander Haig (1981-82), George Schultz (1982-89), James Baker (1989-92), Lawrence Eagleburger (1992-93), Warren Christopher (1993-97), Madeleine Albright (1997-2001) and Colin Powell (2001-205).

Before we can consider whether Condi may be the worst, another question first needs to be asked: To what extent can the conduct of a secretary of state be separated from his or her president? Is a secretary's success or failure substantially contingent on the success of the president?

That's an easy one: As the White House goes so goes the State Department, and Rice's tenure has been enormously afflicted . . . er, affected by what has passed for a Bush administration foreign policy.
That disastrous policy has been a mixture of bellicosity, arrogance, willful naivete and, on the rarest of occasions, actual diplomacy. The result is that thanks to the Iraq war, but not entirely because of it, America's world standing is at low ebb and its once considerable moral gravitas has been squandered. It is, to an embarrassing extent, literally a global laughingstock.
Then there is Rice herself, a brainy sycophant who even in these porous times of leaks about just about everything seems to have seldom spoken up about anything, and with 15 months left has a legacy of having no legacy.
Unless you consider her legacy to be tacit approval of torture while national security advisor, ignoring international treaties, allowing Blackwater USA thugs to run wild in Iraq, feckless ineffectuality regarding the war in Lebanon and genocide in Sudan . . .

When a Kissinger, Albright or Powell spoke, people listened. When Condi speaks does anyone listen, let alone even care?
What do you think? Does she take the cake or what?


Charles Amico said...

Shaun, I live in No. California and have friends who worked at Stanford, where Condi came from. They said she was aweful there as well and were glad to see her leave.

For someone with so much intellect, she is devoid of wisdom. I think she isn't mature yet and being around Bush hasn't helped her step out and claim her ground with ideas that can move people and countries.

I wrote a post on July 9th titled, "Where's Condoleezza Rice?" commenting that she hadn't been around in about 30-45 days when we needed a diplomatic flurry of activity and she most likely went on vacation during the surge in Iraq.

I like your post Shaun. Thanks for brining more attention to her and her ineptness.

trog69 said...

Good morning, Shaun Mullen.

Until a blogger such as you remarks on "Oil Can Condi", she's nowhere on the radar! With so many pans boiling at once, her lack of presence is significant.